As you know, the Australian Government is conducting a census of the population on the 10th August 2021. The census is an important snapshot of the country and informs government and businesses in their decision making. Census data is used to plan and deliver services across Australia that improve the lives of people, families, and communities.
You may have also noticed the Atheist Foundation of Australia has been hard at work promoting the Census 21 “No Religion” campaign. The campaign is a constellation of like-minded organisations whose goal is to increased accuracy in the census data – specifically around question on religious belief.
The religious question was introduced in the first census conducted in 1911, and was explicitly made optional in the 1931, and the “no religion” option was added in 1971. In the last census just over 30% of Australians reported as having “no religion”, with 32,302 people marking themselves as “atheist”.
However, due to the classification hierarchy the Australian Bureau of Statistics use, atheists are NOT included in the “no religion” category. Atheism is included under “secular beliefs” (ABS code 7202), while all “no religion” classifications begin with 71. This artificially deflates the number of non-religious people in Australia, and hides potentially millions of atheists in the “no religion” category.
While religion and religious belief are difficult to define and quantify, and there seem to be as many definitions as there are religions. However what is clear is that ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION.
For these reasons, the Atheist Foundation of Australia is encouraging all atheists to mark the “no religion” category in this year’s census.
For more information on the Atheist Foundation of Australia, please visit https://atheistfoundation.org.au/
For information of the Census 21 “No Religion” Campaign please visit https://censusnoreligion.org.au/